Colorado will be required to establish an American Health Benefit Exchange by January 1st, 2014 if current healthcare legislation becomes law. Additionally, residents will be required to purchase health insurance or they will be subject to a financial penalty.
The proposed Colorado Health Benefit Exchange will include health plans from major health insurance carriers like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Humana and other commercial health insurance carriers. Individuals, families, and small businesses will be eligible to shop in the exchange.
According to the Congressional Budget Office
(CBO), more than half of people buying their own coverage would qualify for the new insurance tax credits, available to families of four earning up to $88,000 a year. The CBO estimates that those credits would significantly lower their health-insurance costs, leaving them paying 56% to 59% less than the premium rate for current healthcare plans. Premiums for individuals and families who do not qualify for the subsidy are expected to increase by 10% to 13%.
Additionally, healthcare legislation may also include the creation of a public healthcare option. The public option would compete alongside the commercial plans and would be available for purchase through the new exchange. Also, individual states may have the option of “opting out” of the public option.
The CBO estimates that about two-thirds of Americans would live in a state that made the public option available. Finally, according to the
CBO, about one in eight Americans buying insurance through newly created exchanges would choose the public plan.
HHS Awards Grants For Six More Health Insurance Exchanges.
The Hill (9/28, Baker) "Healthwatch" blog reports, "The Health and Human Services Department awarded another $223 million in grants Thursday to help states build new insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act." The grants were given to five states and Washington, D.C. In total so far, "34 states have gotten federal money to begin building their exchanges."
CQ (9/28, Subscription Publication) adds that of the six recipients, Arkansas is the only which will not operate a state-based exchange. Instead, Arkansas received $18.6 million to apply toward the operation of the "federally facilitated exchange," or FFE. In addition to Arkansas and DC, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Kentucky received grants Thursday.
Modern Healthcare (9/28, Daly, Subscription Publication) reports that in a news release, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "The resources announced today will ensure states have the assistance they need to continue moving forward."
Colorado Receives $43 Million. The Denver Post (9/28, Booth) reports that Colorado received $43 million from HHS Thursday. The Denver Business Journal (9/28, Harden, Subscription Publication) adds that this "follows an early grant of $17.9 million from HHS in February."